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The Stream Keeps Splitting

Last night our friend Jaylene came down from Indy with her step-dad. They were delivering a bed and some other furniture for us. The bed was available because Jaylene’s mom — Jimmy’s wife — died just a few weeks ago.

As I sat on our front porch talking with Jimmy, I recalled something I’d said to Xy just the day before: “The only thing that would hurt worse than this hurricane would be losing you.” Well, here I was talking to a man who’d lost his wife. It kind of put things in perspective.

Jaylene also brought our mutual friend Abby along. Her husband Johnny just died last week. I’m not sure how old he was, but I’m sure he was younger than me. She said I could have some of his clothes.

So there we all were, a bunch of people who’d sustained heavy recent losses, drowning our sorrows in wine and beer. Mostly I sat on the front porch and talked with Jimmy, observing the occasional young college couple walk down the darkened street, listening to the muffled roar that I assumed had something to do with Men’s Formal Rush but was probably just a big party.

Jimmy and I struggled to find common ground. There was a big gulf between us that can be summed up in one word: class. I’ve never felt so bourgeois in my whole life as I did while sitting there talking to him — well, except for the whole last two weeks as I’ve watched people dying in New Orleans on the big screen TV at my in-laws’ house.

Has it really been two weeks? It feels like two years. But I’m rambling.

Jimmy said one thing in particular which I struck me as beautiful, funny and profound. Almost like a zen koan, really.

Can you walk on water? Well, I can. But the damn stream keeps splitting in two.

Published inBloomingtonFriendsKatrina


  1. bill bill

    hi B,
    Please continue updating your blog. It gives me a way to understand some aspect of the scope of this horrible disaster. Your neighbor’s account of his exodus literally had my jaw hanging loose — he should write a screenplay. And, for what it is worth, I’d like to add my voice to the chorus of those who are happy that you and Xy made it out and are okay.
    Best Regards,

  2. hi, this is your old admirer from Collins, circa ’88/’89.

    so glad to hear that you and your wife and pets survived!!!

    i still love bloomington, too, but i’m so sorry for the circumstances that brought you back.

    here in evansville, several of the colleges are bringing in N.O. students, and my parents are hosting some people from your orchestra/symphony.

    “limbo” can be an awkward place to dwell–but as expected, you seem to be handling things amazingly well.

  3. lemming lemming

    I’d echo Bill’s comment. Despite hours of listening to NPR and the BBC I still cannot wrap my brain around the enormity of what has happened. It is only when I read individual accounts that I begin to understand. I know what you mean about the silverware – great image.

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